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Minnesota's AURI looking to expand in Waseca

Shannon Schlecht, executive director of the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, told a Minnesota legislative committee on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, that AURI needs $2 million for construction in Waseca.

Two men in lab coats from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute in Waseca, Minnesota, use a pellet mill as part of a project.
Staff from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute in Waseca, Minnesota, use a pellet mill as part of a project.
Rolf Hagberg / Rolf Hagberg Photography

ST. PAUL — Minnesota's Agricultural Utilization Research Institute is asking the state Legislature for $2 million to build a new facility in Waseca.

AURI is currently operating out of two buildings about a mile apart in Waseca.

Shannon Schlecht, executive director of AURI, told the Minnesota House of Representatives Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 23, that AURI needs about 12,000 square feet of space in Waseca.

AURI's main Waseca building is about 6,000 square feet and also uses an annex that is about 3,300 square feet. The $2 million could be used to expand existing space or be entirely new construction.

"We would bring those under one roof," Schlecht said.

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AURI also has facilities in Crookston, Marshall, and on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.

AURI has 34 employees across the state, six of them working in Wadena.

One of the focus areas in Waseca is trying to find new uses for ag products and ways to reduce waste in ag processing.

Other budget requests from AURI include a 5% cost of living raise; creating a lifecycle analysis position that would help with sustainability efforts; and money for a study on anaerobic digestion.

The committee did not act on the bills Wednesday but will consider them in the future.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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